Not only can girls play baseball… this one chose to play the toughest, most physically demanding position on the field!
Here’s the story of a girl who’s rocking the diamond, from behind the plate.
This story was contributed by Marie Capotosto.
Thank you, Marie!
With my husband being active duty Marines we have to move around a lot. Before we moved to Yuma Az we were in Cali.
That’s where my daughter’s journey as a catcher began – 8 yrs old playing on her second baseball team in the rec league.
She was the only girl in the league for several years.
“Girls don’t play baseball”
Angelina Capotosto’s 1st season, she almost quit because of some chauvinist male coaches.
They never wanted to help or encourage her, or really teach.
One actually went as far as telling me if she wanted to learn how to play baseball she should have joined a different league! (I made sure that she never had that coach again).
The following season with different set of coaches, one of them was a parent from the previous season who became a coach and a friend.
His son was also treated like crap during that season too. So he wanted to change that.
He told the head coach that he was paired with that he wanted my daughter; told him that she has a lot of heart, potential and determination.
That coach was very hesitant at first but picked her.
A girl baseball CATCHER?!??
That same head coach at practice asked if anyone wanted to try to be a catcher.
No one raised their hand.
After practice, she asked me, “What’s a catcher and what do they do?”
I told her and I showed her videos.
She compared it to kind of like a goalie in soccer, which is what she was before she switched to baseball.
She quickly said “cocky like” I’m not afraid of getting hit. Can I try it and see if I like it?”
Now it’s 4 years later and she still loves being a catcher!
Training & Growing
During that season I actually started watching videos, learning myself and how I could teach Angelina without her getting hurt. As well as recording her practices and games to look back on, to see what she needs to fix or change.
Her coaches didn’t know how to train a catcher correctly themselves.
I found a Catching coach (Mike B) at our local batting facility (DBATS); who was doing lessons and camps.
He was shocked that a girl was coming to him for lessons for baseball catching, not softball. He didn’t go easy on her and she would get really hard on herself for not getting it… and even made her cry a few times.
(Thinking back on that actually makes me laugh, because now she won’t show someone that they have gotten to her.)
Soon word got around to the other coaches at the facility and she became the talk of the facility.
Fast forward several lessons, same season. Soon after a few games, she had coaches talking and actually stopping us on our way out, after the game to talk about her playing for their team (kind of scared her at first, not understanding the big deal) she became the lead catcher with that team.
The following season, with the same coach who hesitated at first, kept getting more compliments of how good Angelina commands the field (loudly), protects the umpires and how she has great catcher’s etiquette. (I didn’t know that was a thing. She just did it on her own. Good sportsmanship)
Even the umpires would joke with her, throughout the seasons she became one of the top catchers in the league, where some of the coaches would try to negotiate the coach who picked her to get her on their team during the drafts (She was with that same coach for 2 seasons).
She continued to grow and learn the craft thanks to Mike and many videos, but she also soon started doing the teaching herself with her other teammates or other catchers during the catching clinics with Mike. He would even use her for demonstrations.
Her coach would always send me the text messages he would get from the other coaches praising her.
We soon heard how other kids started becoming afraid of her, not wanting to catch with her; or when she was behind the plate.
(Even the umpires who haven’t dealt with her yet)
Which I thought was funny; Boys being afraid of my daughter.
Obstacles to overcome
Health. One thing to keep in mind though, Angelina was born w/ hip dysplasia; left hip socket wasn’t formed properly. But she didn’t let that hold her back. We were extra careful with technique and fitness training.
Unfairness. She had another season where she dealt with coaches who actually tried to get her to quit, but she wouldn’t let them win.
They would keep her in the right field or benched (A lot).
Sometimes for 4 innings, only playing for 2, which was against the rules.
They even kept trying to get her to quit, kept sending me text messages about how I can fill out a drop form.
Determination & Strength
Because of how unfairly she was being treated, I asked my daughter if she wanted to quit.
But she was determined. She said “no way! They aren’t going to win like that. I don’t care how many times they bench me or put me in the outfield only to cuss at me for doing something wrong.
I’ve learned my lesson from the first season. I will stay and encourage my teammates!!”
This is exactly what she did.
They did get suspended for a game or two for breaking rules. (I never reported them, wasn’t trying to make her season any harder than it already was) Found out other parents did on her behalf.
Because of those three, she no longer wanted to use that number. She went back to her old soccer number 10.
The last season that she played for that city rec league before we moved, she once again got a coach who refused to trade her. He was an actual pitching coach, who always called for her to catch during his private lessons. I also had several parents come up to me telling me, because of my daughter and watching her play, their daughters have decided to play too.
Inspiring other girls
I had another parent (a friend), tell me that she chewed out a coach, her son’s coach for 5-6 yr olds, because he told a little girl on their team, that girls won’t go far in this league. She should go and play softball. To make her point, the irate mom actually showed him one of my videos that I post on FB of my daughter hitting and catching!
Telling him how he’s wrong and that this girl is actually proving to all you ego chauvinist coaches; that girls very well can play and keep up with the boys.
She showed that little girl the same videos; which encouraged her to keep playing.
That season we had 6 girls playing baseball in our rec league.
That year, my daughter was handpicked by this coach to play in the all-stars.
She loved that the very same boys & those chauvinist coaches who tried to get her to quit were eating her dirt!
They tried to strike her out and run her down while stealing home; it didn’t work. Those very same coaches from her first season had actually praise her for shutting them down. (She has “thou shall not steal” on her catcher mask.)
Baseball is a love
Every team she ever played on or even against she always encourages them to have fun & congratulates the other catcher.
She’ll do goofy dances to get her teammates laughing.
Even if she’s not behind the plate, she still loudly encourages and leads her teammates during the game or even at practice.
To this day, she still plays baseball. But she has also moved over to softball.
Her goal is to make it to a high school team and hopefully a college team.
She’s a gifted student in academics, so when she’s not playing she’s tutoring her classmates and teammates. That way they can continue to play and not benched for bad grades.
Lately I saw another catcher on a softball team who was amazing!! She also has catcher’s etiquette. She always gave the batters their bats back to that team.
When she ran home, she actually stopped at home plate & picked up the catcher’s mask that- that catcher ripped off to go after a foul ball. I’ve never seen another player do that. I thought that was pretty amazing.
Where is she today? UPDATE
Angelina is still the only girl in her league, in this area.
She’s playing with the US Elite baseball now, under Dean Haddock.
She played softball for the first time for the middle school she was at. That middle school doesn’t have a baseball team. So she tried out for the softball team and became the lead catcher during both seasons she was with them.
Last fall she played the Yuma Baseball League (YBBL) and middle school softball at the same time. Again she was the only girl in the league and was the lead catcher for her team. For both baseball and softball.
The baseball coach she has now is always telling me that loves having her on the team. He’s always complimented her many times on her commitment, competitiveness, determination, drive & aggressiveness to be better. But she’ll tell you she’s just trying to be the best that she can be and get her pop time/throw downs faster.
Does your daughter play baseball? Tell us in the comments!
Free instructional resources:
- 6 Secrets of Elite Infielders – With former MLB infielder Doug Bernier
- Perfect Blocking Form, a checklist for catchers – By 2013 World Series winning catcher Ryan Lavarnway
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